Thursday, July 9, 2009

Unlimited Access

Imagine if you were a little league baseball coach and you had unprecedented access to Joe Torre. Or you were a high school basketball coach and you had the opportunity to sit down with Phil Jackson for a couple of hours. What would you ask these guys? Do you think you would want to learn as much as you could from these guys and try to apply it to your team? I had an opportunity last week to sit down with my friend who stumbled in his walk with the Lord. The guy who lost his job, his home and at the time, he thought he lost his family. My friend had an affair. I had unprecedented access to him and was able to talk about what happened. We talked for several hours about how it happened, what his mindset was, the lies and deception that he did not know he was capable of and on and on. This is the first time I have been this close to someone who went through this and was completely open about it. He wants others to learn from his mistakes. I want to share with you a couple of takeaways from our meeting.

1. Satan is very patient: My friend said that he and his wife were struggling in their marriage for a couple of years before he and the other woman became involved with each other. He said the he now understands the verse about Satan prowling like a lion much better now.

I Peter 5: 8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

He said that he and his wife were struggling in their marriage and were too prideful or too embarrassed to get help. Looking back on it he said it was like Satan was just watching their marriage disintegrate just like a lion watches the prey looking for the weakest one in the heard. The lion does not jump and roar to scare the prey to death, he moves slowly in the grass, watching and waiting for the perfect opportunity to catch the prey off guard. Once the lion decides to attack there is little the prey can do to escape. Another verse that comes to mind is Ephesians 4:26, 27

Ephesians 4:26, 27 - "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.

He and his wife did not seek help and they not only gave the devil a foothold but they basically left the front door open with a big sign that said "Satan, come on in!" If things are not good in your marriage please talk to someone who can help.

2. Mans heart is wicked: Growing up in the church and being actively involved in the church my friend said he thought he was a good guy. He knew he was not perfect but he thought he was a good guy. It was not until the affair began that he realized just how deceived he was.

Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Matthew 15:19 - For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

When the affair began he began lying and deceiving everyone. He was lying to his wife, he was lying to his boss, he was lying to his friends. He deceived his coworkers, he deceived his kids, I think he even deceived himself. It got so bad that he said the night they were to consummate the affair he told himself "If Jesus Christ is standing in the doorway when I get to the motel, I will push Him aside to be with her!" Wow! Satan is a liar and a deceiver. Do not buy in to what he has to offer, it will only lead to destruction.

3. God is good: While all of this was going on God was doing an amazing work in his wife's life. My friend said that during their 15 or so years of marriage she always told him that if he ever cheated on her it was over. That was one thing she could never forgive. The day he confessed to his wife what he had been doing, within one hour she came to him and said "I forgive you and am willing to work on our marriage if you want to work with me." He said this blew him away.

Matthew 18:21, 22 - 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

I John 1: 9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

He said that during his time of wandering farther and farther away from the Lord, she was getting closer and closer to the Lord. She had committed to getting into God's Word. She began reading the Word and he was seeing amazing changes in her life. In his mind it was too little too late but the Word of God is powerful and can dramatically change lives. If you are not spending time in God's word, let me encourage you to do so.

Hebrews 4:12- 12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Through all of this, my friend wants to use his story to help others. He said couples need to work hard on their marriage and do not be so prideful that you cannot ask for help. Many couples are so embarrassed or so afraid to let anyone know there are problems that they would rather split up than seek help. We need to humble ourselves and seek help. As the New Testament church worked together to help each other we too need to help each other in times of need, both physical and spiritual.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

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